Taking steps to shopping sustainably

People who are looking to be mindful of their environmental impact can change their shopping habits to be more sustainable. Before making a purchase, look into brands and stores with eco-friendly and ethically-made materials. Faye Lessler, writer of environmental justice, and Joel Makower, chairman and co-founder of GreenBiz Group, offer three ways to shop more sustainably. 

Think before buying

Take a moment to think about if an item is a necessary purchase. To avoid impulse buying, have a style or item in mind before shopping. Remember to bring a reusable bag to limit waste. 

Find sustainable materials

Avoid materials such as polyester, elastic and artificial leather, which are all made of plastics that do not decompose easily. Sustainable materials include organic and recycled cotton, lyocell and cupro. These fabrics are waste-free and require fewer harsh chemicals in the production process. 

Look at clothing tags to identify which fabrics the clothing contains, and research online if the materials were produced sustainably. 

Identify sustainable brands

Watch out for greenwashing, a strategy brands use to market themselves as environmentally friendly when, in reality, they are not. 

Go to the website for the store or brand before shopping and look for an “about us” page or an “our mission” page. If the company is publicly discussing its practices, it is a sign they are not being deceptive.